After the debacle in the civic elections of the state's ten cities including Mumbai, the Congress made a turnaround in central-eastern Maharashtra by emerging as the single-largest party in four of the five municipal corporations that went to polls on April 15.
In Latur, the Congress did best, winning 49 of the 70 seats. This will be a shot in the arm for Union science, technology and earth sciences minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who is from this region.
Deshmukh for the past few months has been under fire over several controversies ranging from Adarsh to the Whistling Wood land allotment case.
The Congress's performance in Bhiwandi, Malegaon and Chandrapur, where it has emerged as the single-largest party, has also turned out to be a face-saver for chief minister Prithviraj Chavan.
Chavan has increasingly been under flak for the party's poor electoral performance in the state. The fact that the Congress did well in Malegaon and Bhiwandi, where Muslims are in large numbers, also came as relief to Chavan, whose supporters pointed out that the party had managed to win back its vote bank.
In all the three cities the Congress will, however, need to join hands with friendly parties such as the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) or the Samajwadi Party.
The NCP did resoundingly well in the district of Parbhani, where it emerged as the single-largest party, winning 30 seats of the 65 seats.
The BJP suffered a major setback in Chandrapur city. This victory of the Congress is seen as a blow for state BJP president Sudhir Munganttiwar, who is from there.
Munganttiwar, who was once a BJP MLA from Chandrapur and now represents neighbouring Ballarshah in the assembly, camped there during the elections and even took the help of BJP national president Nitin Gadkari. However, the saffron party ended getting 18 seats of the 66.
The Congress won 26 seats.